Message from the CEO

November 21, 2023

Welcome to the November edition of Tendrils, our second last e-newsletter for 2023!

As we approach the end-of-year festivities, it is important to remember that biosecurity threats don’t take a break and we need to continue to be vigilant to safeguard Australia’s biosecurity.

One of the tools we use to respond and manage biosecurity risks, is the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), that celebrated its 18th year of existence in October. The EPPRD is unique as it promotes a valuable partnership and joint decision-making between Australian government and plant industry partners.

In addition to facing continuous biosecurity threats, farmers remain at the forefront of global issues. I recently attended the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) National Conference as well as a National Press Club address by NFF’s outgoing President Fiona Simson. She said the NFF remains committed to find a pathway to financially reward farmers for their stewardship of the environment as they manage well over half of the Australian continent. Fiona has been a passionate advocate for Australian farmers over the past seven years at the NFF, and I wish her well.  Congratulations to Victorian grain and livestock producer David Jochinke on his election as the new NFF President.

Following consultation earlier this year, new bills were introduced into Parliament in mid-October. The bills are intended to modernise legislation to support the agricultural levy system by reducing complexity, amending inconsistencies, and improving flexibility. Key changes include the adoption of modern compliance arrangements and changes to the methodology underpinning matching funding arrangements. These bills were introduced and read a first time in the Senate last week with a second reading moved and the debate adjourned. You can track progress of these bills on the Parliament of Australia website.

The call for abstracts is now open for the 3rd Australian Biosecurity Symposium scheduled to take place from 27 – 29 August 2024 on the Gold Coast. We invite abstracts and presentations that promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas across the biosecurity spectrum – from agriculture (animals and plants) to wildlife, aquatics, humans, and the environment. The symposium is the perfect platform to explore transformative approaches for Australia’s biosecurity systems, safeguarding our economy, environment, and way of life. Abstract submissions close on Sunday, 31 March 2024. Visit the website to submit your abstract.

During the final weeks on 2023, the PHA team will continue to deliver against our strategic and operational priorities, and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming Member meetings.